Chris Packham suffered 'devastating' bullying at school which has scarred him for life



Chris Packham has spoken of how the horrific bullying he ­suffered at school still affects him.

The Springwatch star says the “devastating” abuse he endured “leaves a scar that lasts for a lifetime”.

The 61-year-old presenter, diagnosed with autism in later life, reflects on his “burden” in a new BBC documentary.

He said: “I have a visual memory of some of the most horrific things that other young people said to me when I was a kid and they still hurt now.

“They’ve tattooed something unpleasant in my psyche.”

Chris said he sought refuge alone at home: “I am so pleased a particular child in my early life could never get to me in my bedroom. He made my life absolute hell.”

The Springwatch star was diagnosed with autism later in life ( STEVE REIGATE)

He does not bear grudges towards the boy as it is “not a way forward”, admitting: “We never forget, we just remember less often. So you get past the damaging stage and learn to manage it so you don’t bear grudges – life’s too short. You want to be making progress, not just entertaining hate. At the same time, the damage is done.”

The naturalist said he was particularly affected in his 20s and has spoken previously of how he contemplated suicide. Chris said that any “interaction” with anyone his own age “invariably went very badly wrong.”

Reflecting on the bully, he says: “He didn’t understand me. I wasn’t able to put up any defence or give him any point of access to any understanding of why I might have been behaving, looking, sounding how I did.

Chris Packham at the age of four ( PA)
The naturalist says he was particularly affected in his 20s ( PA)

“The classic gang mentality of kids meant he just built a series of acolytes around him and the ­persecution became quite intense.”

But he said autism was not widely understood in the 1970s. Chris said: “My teachers wouldn’t have had a clue what you were talking about.”

Chris added that he has seen “positive developments” in schools, but added: “Teachers don’t have the time to notice. They’re so pressured by our broken educational system.”

Inside Our Autistic Minds is a ­two-part documentary presented by Chris starting tomorrow on BBC2.

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